'Women in Horror Month' Celebrates Sylvia Soska

Sylvia Soska from the Twisted Twins QA
by Seth Metoyer, MoreHorror.com

Sylvia Soska, the other half of the dynamite doppelgangers; a.k.a. the Soska Sisters, also known as the Twisted Twins was kind enough to answer our horror Q&A in celebration of Women in Horror Month.

Sylvia takes us deep into her mind and presents some refreshingly honest answers to a variety of questions about horror and fear. You don't want to miss what she had to say. Read the entire Q&A below. Enjoy.

MoreHorror.com: How did you get involved in the horror business?

Sylvia Soska: My mom loves horror. When we were little girls - we just constantly gravitated to the material. It was enticing and scary. We would haunt the horror section of our local video store, looking at the gore and monsters at the back of the boxes. Then, if we found a 'good one' - usually extra bloody - we would go and beg her to watch it.

HELLRAISER was off the menu, but the first we ever got to watch was POLTERGEIST. It terrified me - rightly so. I was asking to see something I didn't understand and now monsters were real. My mom did something that shaped the rest of my life - she sat me down in my room and explained the film. Not what appeared in the story, but what was actually there. The efforts of hundreds of artists working together to create everything from the story to the prosthetic effects and makeup. The makeup and effects blew my mind - it was just made to be scary? They did such a good job. At that point, I knew what I wanted to be a part of. I was hopelessly hooked.

For years, we went the acting route which proved to be disappointing at best. As older twin women, the roles changed from bad to worse. I have nothing against sexualized roles, but the ones we were offered had less than no substance. Just human filler. There was a moment where we were playing twin co-eds and the director decided to start the shot on our asses as we walked through our dorm. It made me sick to my stomach. I was body parts with a face and personality of little importance. It annoyed us so much that we decided to quit acting altogether.

We were training heavily in mixed martial arts and decided maybe stunt work would be more appealing to us. It would be based on our skill level rather than our appearance. We went to a film school that had one of the best stunt coordinators in the industry teaching an 'action for actors' course and were sure that was where our future was. The course was amazing and we learned how to take the skills we learned as martial artists and apply then for the camera. However, after that portion of the course ended, so did anything that even remotely resembled a school.

There was zero organization. We would sit in a room of 'advanced performers' that would talk about their weekends. Sometimes they would give us scene work but without direction for the studies - there was nothing to do to advance oneself's knowledge. The final straw was when it came to our last project which the instructor decided to allow us to write and direct ourselves. Finally something to be excited about. Then they cut our group's funding and told us to merge with a pre-existing group.

It completely soured the industry that had us already disillusioned. Thank God for GRINDHOUSE. Despite our own experiences in the industry, we remained avid horror fans. When GRINDHOUSE was out - a combination of work from Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth, Rob Zombie, and Jason Eisener - it was the first time in a long time we were excited about something that was playing in the theaters. We had been watching it in the theaters non-stop. We went there to cheer ourselves up after the bad news and as we exited the theater, Jen had this stupid/brilliant look on her face - she simply said: 'Dead Hooker In A Trunk.'

We were to make a fake trailer like the ones in GRINDHOUSE for a movie called DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK. We would put everything we wanted to see in movie in it and we would write, direct, and produce it outside of the school. Then present it as a 'fuck you' for graduation. We got to work, getting the friends we made in the industry onboard to help us bring this insanity to life.

Graduation came and the trailer played last. When it played: half the audience walked out and the other half was cheering so loud you could barely hear the offensive dialogue. It was a huge reaction which led to the question: 'When's the feature coming out?' That was the start. We wrote a full length version and started to get to work.

MH: What was the first horror movie you ever watched?

SS: First horror movie was POLTERGEIST. Then JAWS - which still scared me quite a bit. My dad showed me and when my mom came home she saw my terrified face just starting at the screen. 'The shark ate the lady...' Time for that movie magic talk again, ma.

MH: Early on, did your friends and family think that your fascination with horror was odd?

SS: My family has never treated me like I was weird, even though I know I was. Jen and I loved horror, spiders, anything that put off others seemed to find a home in our hearts. My parents nurtured our interests and I wouldn't be what I am today had they not been there for me. At ten, we were reading Stephen King novels and learning more about frights.

Outside of our family, we were ridiculed constantly. Young people can be so cruel to one another, but it's a lack of education that causes this meanness. As twins, we already stuck out - add off center interests in horror and that pre-existing bullseye gets bigger. I remember being at church and getting spat on by the other children and called witches. This was at Catholic School. We told the teachers, but they had the same opinion of us and we ended up being punished for 'insinuating' the harassment. I'm not mad at them. I feel sorry for them. There is a big, beautiful, and diverse world out there that they will never experience. God made the normies and the freaks with the same love - even a 'witch' knows that.

MH: What makes horror so exciting to you?

SS: Horror can be so unique and thrilling, but it also can be empowering. As a young girl, you can look at the women - the heroines and the lady 'monsters' - and see their strength. The stories make me feel strong. They did ever since I was little and, as the years have passed, that strength never left me. It also introduces the reader to the darker side of our existence which I find fascinating. They say that those who do not do evil are fascinated by it. Fear - because I don't have much in ways of phobias - interests me greatly.

MH: What do you think about the current state of horror? Do you like the remakes or do you think they tread on hallowed ground?

SS: I don't like the current state of horror. The genre has some of the best stories ever told in it, at the same time it is constantly diluted with studio, soulless crap. We don't need remakes. We need originality. If new generations want to meet Freddy Krueger, that's Robert Englund. He was that character.

MH: What is your favorite horror movie of all time?

SS: AMERICAN PSYCHO directed by the fabulous Canadian director, Mary Harron. I can't say that the title character being named 'Mary' in our new feature is accidental in any way.

MH: What truly scares you?

SS: I have gotten a lot of unwanted attention in my various jobs. When I was a Barista at Starbucks, a customer (thirty years my senior) decided he would just claim me. He started aggressively pursuing me, grabbing at me, so many disgusting overtly perverse things. It went on for two years and not the police nor the company did anything to protect me. I ended up leaving my first apartment and my job. Finally, one policeman realized the bullshit of the situations and my stack of reports and decided to help me get a peace order (Canadian restraining order) but that only lasted for a few months even though the judge originally in court sentenced him to five years of no contact.

It seriously fucked me up. I was a very scared and angry person. Legally obligated, Starbucks sent me to counselling that did nothing. My sister saved me - she enrolled us in intensive marital arts with a private instructor. If I was threatened, I would be able to defend myself. It was hardcore and I am grateful to her and my instructor, Sheryl Lactin, for ever for the strength they gave me.

My fear? If I am touched unexpectedly, I will hit you. I am not a violent person, but that terror that someone can hurt you and take away your freedom takes a long time to get back.

MH: Who's your favorite scream queen of all time?

SS: Jamie Lee Curtis aka Laurie Stroude. There was always something so hauntingly romantic that her sad fate with Michael Myers and she was fucking smart. She didn't cry and wait to be saved. She kicked ass and protected those kids - best babysitter ever. Tip her big, parents. She's worth it.

MH: Plug a project time. What horror projects are you currently working on?

SS: We are currently on pre-production on our second feature film called AMERICAN MARY. The film follows medical student, Mary Mason, as she grows increasingly broke and disillusioned with medical school and the surgeons she once admired. The lure of easy money and a test to her skills intrigue the desperate Mary into a world of underground surgeries that leave more marks on her than her so-called 'freakish' clientele.

Mary will be played the intoxicating, Katharine Isabelle, who has born to play a role like this. She's such a talent and it very exciting to have her in the title role. We also have makeup and effects legend, Mark Shostrom, with his team at Hello Boss FX. There story is very prosthetic and effect heavy and a lot of the effects are unique only to this film. Luckily, Mark has made a career out of bringing never before done effects to life. It's going to be a real treat for horror fans and it is our way of saying 'thank you' to all the people that have supported our work to get us to this point.

MH: What was your favorite horror film of 2010?

SS: BLACK SWAN. It took my breath away.

MH: When are you "at your best"; morning, noon or night?

SS: Morning after my energy drink, but I find if I'm working - and I pretty much am from when I wake up to when I go to sleep at night - I have this crazy tireless energy with or without my caffeine bravado.

MH: What do you enjoy doing the most when you are not working?

SS: It's been a long time since I have had time to not work. I tend to work with people who I also like to hang out with so it never feels like a job. Just a bunch of driven people who love what they do collaborating together.

I collect tarantulas. They relax me, so I take time to tend to their habitats and them personally. Lovely animals.

MH: What words of advice would you give to women who are interested in pursuing a career in the horror field?

SS: I would say don't let people discourage you. If you want to make a movie, go do it. Write a script that means something to you that is unique and interesting, then learn as much as you can about the process. The technical, the art, listen to DVD commentaries and have your favorite directors teach you to be better. It's a constant process - but if you work hard and keep focused, nothing can stop you.

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